“Courage to Bloom,” the inaugural winner of the student competition for the American Indian College Fund blanket design.
Arrow shapes in this pattern symbolize finding a good path in life, acknowledging that every path holds pitfalls and dangers, as well as opportunity. To honor the loss of missing and murdered indigenous Native people, an hourglass shape at the base of the largest blossom symbolizes life’s spiritual journey through the most difficult circumstances.
The Designer behind the Design
Designer Deshawna Anderson (White Mountain Apache/Crow) is a College Fund scholar at Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, Montana, where she studies Business Administration. She is of the Butterfly Clan and a child of the Greasy Mouth.
As a visual learner, Deshawna became interested in art as a tool to educate the viewer on the perspective of its creator. She is influenced by Apache and Crow culture from the Crazy Mountains to Salt River Canyon. She also draws inspiration from historic and contemporary burden baskets, beadwork, quillwork, and attire.
This design, “Courage to Bloom,” was chosen from a field of 48 entries to the College Fund blanket design contest. There were many outstanding designs submitted, including paintings and beadwork. It was extremely difficult to choose just one design to translate to the loom. The breadth of talent we saw makes us anticipate what our College Fund scholars will create in the future.
We are pleased to unveil the newest Pendleton blanket for the American Indian College Fund. The Water saddle blanket, a special limited edition, features in “The Path,” a public service announcement directed by legendary director Joe Pytka in collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy, featuring music by A Tribe Called Red.
More about “The Path”
Pendleton was proud to participate by weaving a 290 yard-long “Water” blanket, used in the film to illustrates the varied paths of Native scholars travel on their way to a brighter future. After the film was finished, we refashioned it into 133 limited edition, saddle-style blankets, each 60” x 32”.
How You Can Help
Indigenous people are not just a part of history, they are the future. Right now, 42% of American Indians are 24 years old or younger. With your support, we can help the next generation of indigenous leaders forge their own unique paths to a brighter future and stronger communities through the guidance and scholarships provided by The College Fund. This blanket is one way you can help.
We are proud to present “7 Generations,” the latest blanket in the American Indian College Fund Collection which helps fund scholarships for Native American students. “7 Generations” is also our newest partnership with Nike’s N7 Fund, a trust whose mission is to bring sports to Native American and Aboriginal communities in the US and Canada.
Decoding the Symbols
This USA-made wool blanket illustrates the past, present and future of Native peoples. The central N7 motif represents the impact of each person (the diamond) on the three generations before and after (arrows). A storm pattern with zigzags of lightning honors heritage, while steps show the path to overcoming life’s challenges. The rich colors were inspired by traditional dyes, and reflect the beauty of the southwestern landscape.
This blanket was designed by Tracie Jackson, a Diné artist and designer from Star Mountain in the Navajo Nation. She is a 4th generation artisan. Her grandparents and mother are silversmiths, and both her maternal great grandmothers are rug weavers. Her family encouraged her to study the traditional art forms of her tribe, and with their support she became a painter, jeweler, beader, and graphic designer.
Tracie studied design at the University of Oregon and currently works in Portland, Oregon, designing for the Nike N7 program. This has been her dream job since she was 14 years old, when she first saw N7 at a Native basketball tournament. “I was taught to get an education and use it to help our Native community, which pushed me to become a designer for N7.”
Photos and Models
The photos of this collection are fantastic. You’ll notice that the designer and her models–athletes, leaders and activists–are holding shutter buttons, and choosing how to represent themselves in these photographs by taking their own shots. We are proud to be part of this.